As of this morning, I have meditated, briefly, for 16 days in a row. That might not seem like much of an accomplishment, but honestly, there isn’t many postive habits I have stayed with for 16 consecutive days, certainly not going to the gym.
My mind is like a constant display of very short movie trailers. I am either in review of the past or planning the future. On the outside, it would appear that I am a very curious person, a life-long learner, with a wide spectrum of interests. This makes me a fairly interesting person to converse with and an excellent partner to have in games of Trivia Pursuit. But,…
… there is another side to all of this that meditating regularly has exposed (but was always easily visible to those closest to me.) I have a pretty big anxiety issue. During periods of attempting to become more aware through meditation, I felt like I was being strangled. My elbows, arms, shoulders, wrists, and hands felt like they were shuddering and my throat felt like it was being constricted with invisible fingernails dug into my neck. One practice in particular is the worse. It is a 15 minute, guided meditation used for addictions, mine being food and mindless eating. During this time, your focus begins slowly moving from your toes and eventually to the top of your head, both sides of your body. (Now that I think about it, they do leave out your private parts…probably wise.) After less than 2 minutes of this tour, I am ready to jump ship. Even writing about it now makes my throat feel like it is closing.
I fessed up to my wife that I was having a big problem and she said that others have commented that I used to have the luxury, prior to losing our place, of being in wide open spaces with lots of available distractions which allowed me to ignore my disagreement with the present moment. I intellectually understood it, yet I didn’t ‘own’ it. I wouldn’t allow myself to emotionally and then spiritually understand what this all meant. I spent my time “chasing after the wind” as noted in the wisdom book, Ecclesiastes – “And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but chasing after the wind.”
Where do I go from here? I don’t know. I guess one foot in front of the other. Even now, two and half months after the fire, I continue to have nightmares – all of them including death and murders. There is a saying, “You can run but you cannot hide.” At some point, you have to let your defenses down, even if it is during sleep, or meditation. Maybe instead of chasing the wind, I should try riding on the wind, or at least stop walking into it.
I write this now because soon I will be back into wide open spaces as we are planning on moving to a house on five acres with a large shop, barn, and horse stalls. I need to continue facing what I have learned from my current small and confined spaces – where the wind is not available to chase.